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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

XVI

EXOTIC LITERATURE
AND THE COLONIAL NOVEL

The fog of pessimism during and after the First War is no
doubt one of the explanations of the vogue of literature
which describes far-away climes: it represents a flight from
reality. Exotic literature, of course, goes back to the end of the
eighteenth century1 (Georg Forster's A Voyage towards the South
Pole and round the World, 1777, and J. G. Seume's verse tale Der
Wilde2) and continues with Chamisso's R.eise urn die Welt in den
Jahren xSij-iS and Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos (1845-58).
Exotic fiction shapes itself on such writers as Fennimore Cooper
in the American and Wild West novels ^Wildmst-'R.omantiK} of
Charles Sealsfield (1793-1864) and Friedrich Gerstacker (1816-72).
There is still an English undertone in the exotic writings of Paul
Lindau's brother RUDOLF LINDAU (1829-1910: Er^ahlungen eines
Effendi, 1896): he was a far-travelled diplomat, as much inter-
national as German (his first work, on Japan, was in French, and
as Swiss consul at Yokohama he founded the Japan Times, the
best English newspaper in Japan). The new exotic style blooms
with tropic splendour in the impressionistic prose (Gedankengut aus
meinen Wanderjahren, 2 vols., 1913; Erlebnisse auf Java, 1924) of
Max Dauthendey (pp. 245 ), and he has a good second in the
Luxemburger NORBERT JACQUES (1880-). We get the Far East in

1 Gabriel Rollenhagen's Vierditcher mnderbarMer indianiscfar RJSJSW (160$)
repeat ancient fables, and the exotic novels of the seventeenth century are
also fabulous,

2 Seume's knowledge of America was first-hand: he was kidnapped in
Hesse, and sold to England to fight the American rebels. His prose travel
descriptions are good forerunners of those by die Europamud&n of today. The
craze for America was held up to ridicule by Ferdinand Kiirnberger in his
novel Der Amerika-Mude (1855); he had never been in America, but used
Lenau's American experiences (1832).

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